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Archive for December, 2021

It’s a festive shoe on Day Seven. I found a set of painted wood shoes at the Victoria & Albert Museum gift shop. Each one a different style with a different painted pattern. The package said: Designed in the UK, Made in China.

When I unwrap these ornaments, I imagine a shoe shop all decked out for the holidays complete with a table top tree on the counter decorated only with little shoe ornaments. It makes me wish I owned a shoe shop. But no, I am writer and perhaps this vivid image will end up in one of my stories.

Stop by tomorrow for Day Eight.

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We are half way there! Day Six and it’s one of my very favorites.

This London Double Decker Bus is an actual ornament that I bought at Kensington Palace. When my partner and I traveled to London for the first time together, he had us taking the bus all over the city. I usually take the Tube so this was a whole new view of London. I learned that just getting on a bus and riding anywhere is a great way to see all kinds of neighborhoods. The bus we took the most was the 44. I wrote in black ink “44” on the front of this bus. It’s our bus, full of our London adventures!

Another ornament that, when I unpack, takes me to another time and place.

There’s more to come tomorrow.

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Day Five of The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments is hand made from salt dough.

I found this festive fowl along with several other salt dough ornaments shopping one day after Christmas. Isn’t he charming? He’s nicely preserved with some kind of shellac, which is why I have had him all these years. Miniature ornaments are hard to come by, so this was a lucky find.

Check back tomorrow for Day Six and see what more luck I’ve had.

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Welcome to Day Four of The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments. Today’s ornament isn’t really an ornament, but instead this bear is part of my small stuffed animal collection and he’s very special. I place him under the tree.

His name is Felix and he was a gift from my father when I was ten years old, so that makes him an Elder Bear. On top of that he’s a Steiff, which are German made and are collectible (or used to be – is anything collectible anymore?)

Felix is wearing a smart sweater that was hand knitted by my friend, Kathleen. I can’t look at Felix without thinking of my father and all the Christmases of my childhood, which he always tried to make extra festive. It’s nice to revisit these memories.

Revisit ODFL tomorrow for another installment of The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments.

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Today, Day Three of the Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments, we have a silver skate charm.

About ten years ago I decided I wanted to learn how to ice skate. So, I took a class and then I took private lessons. I loved bundling up in vintage sweaters, pulling on my bright white new skates and learning how to glide across the ice. Well, it was more learning how to fall; the gliding was hard to come by.

At the time, a friend of mine from work was collecting antique silver charms. We had the love of antique jewelry in common and we often shared our latest finds. I asked her to keep an eye out for a skate charm for me and she said, “Or I could just give you the one I have.” A few days later she came to my office with a box containing a silver skate charm. I love the detailing and the bottom opens! It’s a nice addition to my tree and it holds pleasant memories of my skating adventures and my friend from work.

Tomorrow is another day, another Tree Ornament. Tune in.

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Day Two of The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments is Big Ben. I am a total Anglophile and I travel to the UK whenever I get the chance (in fact, I’m way overdue for a visit thanks to the pandemic). I picked up this Big Ben keychain from a street vendor because I like the historic clock tower, but it wasn’t until the following Christmas when I was decorating my tree that I had the idea that the keychain is the perfect size for an ornament. Off came the round hook, replaced with a ribbon. From then on, when I travel I look for keychain souvenirs that work for the tree.

Today is Boxing Day, which is a holiday in the UK. There are many stories as to the origin of this holiday, but the one I like best is this: in the Victorian era, the day after Christmas wealthy people would “box up” some of their possessions that they no longer wanted and give them to “the poor.” Today I think it’s just an extension of the Christmas season.

In my house, we have our own Boxing Day tradition and that is to do nothing or whatever we want to do. By this time, I need a break from the festivities so the day is unplanned. Usually we read, take a long afternoon walk, nibble on leftover goodies. In the evening we might watch a movie. It’s a moment to moment day of peace and quiet.

Today is also the first day of Kwanzaa. Happy Kwanzaa!

I hope you’re enjoying some peace and quite. Come on back tomorrow for Day Three.

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Merry Christmas and welcome to Day One of The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments.

I have a collection of miniature tree ornaments to fit my tabletop tree and this year I’m sharing some of my favorites.

This ski bunny actually sits underneath the tree as he’s the right size but, he’s made of metal and is too heavy for the branches. He’s articulated and could actually ski right down that felt hill I created, with a little help. I found him on sale in a high end gift store after one holiday season. I love the humor of this little bunny and he’s wearing a festive sweater!

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The Twelve Days of Christmas tradition on ODFL continues. This year the theme is miniature tree decorations.

One Christmas season my mother gave me a plastic tabletop tree. Since she was/is allergic to live Christmas trees, this was our replacement. It stands about two feet tall and I put it on my coffee table. That was the start of many years of collecting miniature ornaments that fit on my small tree. In the beginning, since I didn’t have a lot, I used vintage earrings and when I traveled I’d buy a souvenir keychain take off the ring and put a ribbon on it – perfect for an ornament and a nice reminder of my travels.

After all the holiday hustle bustle check in with ODFL on Christmas Day for The Twelve Days of Tree Ornaments. Then settle in for eleven more days of ornaments and the little tales that go with them.

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This is my childhood stocking. It’s made from burlap and has seen many a Christmas morning.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

This week’s quote is from A Visit from St. Nicholas, by Clement Clarke Moore, 1822.

Stockings are a favorite Christmas tradition. When I was growing up, stockings were just for kids, but it seems now everyone gets one.

The story goes that in the 4th century CE good old St. Nicholas dropped some coins down the chimney of needy families and the coins just happened to slip into stockings hanging near the fire to dry. The idea caught on and eventually expanded into a Christmas Morning tradition. The first Christmas stockings would have been everyday plain but, by the early 20th century commercialized pre-packaged stockings were for sale as were embellished stockings.

I was recently reminded of the joys of Christmas stockings by a blog post, The Holiday Stocking written by Becca Carr from Tatter, a textile library located in Brooklyn. Tatter offers classes and unique items for sale, all to do with fabric. They also publish a journal and a blog called The Fold.

Here’s to Christmas stockings!

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Chanel slingbacks.

When it comes to my own style I am very much a uniform dresser. Shoe-wise, it’s kind of what your grandma would wear, which is why I was drawn to these Chanel slingbacks. I purchased them five years ago at the brand’s SoHo store in New York and saved up all my money to do so. I’m not a heels person. They always make me feel overdressed and not in my own skin. But I needed one classic shoe that I could have forever and would look nice with everything.

Maggie Holladay, furniture designer and founder of Claude Home.

I found this quote in the December 2021 issue of Harper’s Bazaar.

Chanel slingback shoes sell for $925. That sounds like a lot, but for a quality classic shoe that one can wear forever with everything (almost) it’s not that bad. There’s much about this quote that I like –

1. The fact that Ms. Holladay saved up to buy her shoes. Saving up for something special, waiting, thinking about it, planning the big trip to the store when you can finally pay and take it home – that’s what I call a treat and a memorable one. Slipping out the credit card? Too easy. Not memorable. I once saved for a Coach handbag. It was a present to myself after my first year of graduate school. I still have that bag, of course, and it reminds me of a very important accomplishment. I could have whipped out the credit card, sure, but that wouldn’t have been as much fun. Instant gratification is overrated.

2. Uniform dressing. My mother did this and I tend toward it too, although I always add an accessory. My mother favored skirts and button-down shirts for her daily wear with perhaps knee socks and flat shoes if she was staying home or sheer stockings and a low heels if she was running errands. Skirts and t-shirts, or sweaters are my daily go-to as well. It’s nice to have several outfits already created that you can just pull out, dress, and go.

3. Investment in a classic. Buy one quality thing and wear it forever. One pair of classic shoes for special or professional occasions. One wool winter coat. One hardy suit (maybe two). You get the picture. Quality over quantity.

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